SAN DIEGO. For years now, we’ve been hearing that President Trump does not act “presidential.” While such assessments are common from his enemies, a recent survey found that even a fair amount of Trump’s supporters agree. They may reject the non-stop hollow accusations leveled against Trump, but they still offer laments about his public persona.
The concern comes from religious and secular demographic groups alike.
According to the Public Religion Research Institute, three-quarters of Americans (73%) would be happier if “Trump’s “speech and behavior were more consistent with past presidents.”
This includes a majority of white evangelical Protestants (52%), Trump’s strongest supporters according to PRRI.
The same survey reported similar concerns from other religious demographics:
“About seven in ten other Christians (68%) and Catholics (70%) say they wish Trump behaved more like past presidents, as do 72% of white mainline Protestants, 74% of Hispanic Protestants, and 81% of black Protestants. Around seven in ten (69%) non-Christian religious Americans say they wish he were more like past presidents.”
National Catholic Reporter relayed this data under a headline that read like a summary: “American faith groups agree: Trump should act more presidential.”
However, not all religious people see this as a problem.
I include myself and I am a Christian pastor. Frankly, I was quite conscious of the fact that we did not vote Jesus Christ into office. We voted a flawed man into office, as sinful as the rest of us.
I make no assumptions one way or the other about whether Trump is a Christian, neither do I care. Yes, I care about his soul and anybody’s soul. But politically, I only care about policy and actions, not words and personality.
Be that as it may, let us not forget that Jesus Himself called the corrupt leaders of His day “vipers” and “whitewashed tombs” (Matthew 23). If Jesus visited today, speaking that way without revealing His identity, I guarantee some Christian would rebuke Christ for not acting “Christ-like.”
Of course, concern over President Trump’s words and manners is not limited to religious critics. The same Public Religion Research Institute poll reported this as an even greater problem amongst “religiously unaffiliated Americans (85%).”
And so, all religion set aside, the subject of being “presidential” is also worth discussing in its own rite. President Trump himself has frequently acknowledged this subject, making sport of it at his rallies.
“It is much easier being presidential. All you have to do is act like a stiff.”
While to some, such sarcastic comments serve as examples vindicating their concern for Trump’s manners, the President may, in fact, be making a profound point. The whole notion of being “presidential” is vastly overrated.
For one thing, the phrase is elusive. What exactly does it mean to be “presidential?” For many, it is little more than an identification of which candidate smiled the most during a debate. Trump is not the first president to be scrutinized by such standards. In one of the debates with candidate John Kerry, President Bush was criticized for having a “scowl” look on his face.
Enter Donald Trump, a man who talks without a filter, who often speaks first and thinks about what he said afterward! Is that “unpresidential?” Perhaps. But some find it refreshing to see a politician who shares his momentary train of thought for better or worse, warts and all!
This stands in sharp contrast to politicians who will offer no comment about anything whatsoever without first consulting polls, focus groups, or personal advisers who caution their bosses to straddle the fence making sure not to offend any of the special interest groups.
But obviously, it’s not refreshing to everybody. Many others stand aghast at Trump’s tone and controversial words.
Just recently, after the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, President Trump offered a rather colorful description, saying, among other things,
“He died like a dog. He died like a coward.”
This was said in the context of describing al-Baghdadi’s last few moments, prior to when he blew up a suicide vest, taking his own life and the lives of his children.
The Washington Post called it a “spectacle” comparing Trump dis-favorably to Barack Obama’s “measured tones” on the heels of Osama bin Laden’s death. CNN published an article titled, “The 41 most shocking lines from Donald Trump’s Baghdadi announcement.”
Perhaps some perspective is in order. A rapist, torturer, and murderer who commanded people’s heads to be cut off is now dead! And what are Trump critics focusing on? They dwell on the President’s tone when he talked about the mission which took this monster out!
A tone is not as important as the truth. A man who will even blow up his own children is a despicable coward. Someone may as well say so. The President did say so. What he said was the truth. It’s just that simple.
Comparisons will continue to be made between President Trump and former presidents. People will yearn for the polished, friendly, measured manners of men like Obama. And yet, under Obama’s watch, we had Fast and Furious, the Benghazi nightmare and the IRS scandal.
There is also increasing evidence of a collaboration on the part of certain FBI /CIA leaders to frame a presidential candidate. One can assert that all such actions took place without the greenlight of Obama but if you believe that, I hope you are also putting out milk and cookies for Santa Claus this year!
Obama has many other “accomplishments” on his record including the now infamous lie about his proposed healthcare law,
“If you like your current health care plan, you can keep it.”
Obama also gave a pile of money to Iran, the strongest sponsor on terrorism, a country whose people chant “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”
But Obama sure came across as presidential!
This is Bob Siegel, making the obvious, obvious.
About the Author:
Bob Siege currently serves as Apologetics Pastor at Skyline Church in San Diego. He is also a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and a regular CDN columnist. Bob’s novel “The Dangerous Christmas Ornament” is a 2017 “Distinguished Favorite” of the Independent Press Award and the New York City Big Book Award. “About Read” lists this book as one of its Top 30 Recommended Action Adventure Books for 11-Year-Olds.